CRAFORD, Robert, of Wareham, Dorset.
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Family and Education
m. (1) by 1409, Joan; (2) by 1417, Agnes, da. and coh. of John Russell of Tyneham, Dorset, wid. of Thomas Mere.1
Craford came from Wareham where he held property in St. Martin’s parish. In 1404 John Dygon† (who had sat for the borough in the first Parliament of 1384 and perhaps was his kinsman) left him all his real estate in Wareham after the death of his widow, on the condition that he would provide for masses to be sung for their souls. Craford acquired substantial properties elsewhere by marriage: by 1409 he had taken possession of the manor of Normanton (in Durnford, Wiltshire) and lands nearby in Lake, dwellings in Southampton and a third of the manor of Preston Vavasour and property in Sandown, Sutton and Brighstone (on the Isle of Wight), as well as land in Mappowder, Puddle ‘Turberville’, Ashley, ‘Kyngsbyre’ and Wimbourne in Dorset. The surname of his first wife and the identity of her family are not known, but her forebears’ Wiltshire estates, said to be worth £13 a year, were still in Craford’s possession in 1412.2 However, within five years Craford had acquired part of the manor of East Tyneham and several acres of land in the area around Wareham, Kimmeridge and West Holme, this being the outcome of a second marriage, with one of four coheirs to the estates of the Russells of Tyneham.3
Craford’s practice as a lawyer involved him in suits at the Dorchester assizes as well as with property transactions elsewhere. He was associated with Thomas Farindgon, esquire, even before they sat for Wareham together in the first Parliament of Henry V’s reign. Faringdon was a feoffee of Craford’s estates in 1409, and in the following year his wife, Joan, bequeathed to Craford part of a burgage in Dorchester. At the assizes in 1411 Craford was involved in the dispute between the heirs of the Estoke estates over the manor of ‘Byestwall’ and Stoborough, which was eventually settled to the benefit of John Cheverell, who had been Craford’s fellow Member for Wareham in the Commons of 1406. He was one of those told to report to the sheriff the results of the Wareham elections to the Parliaments of 1407 and 1414, and on the occasions of his own returns for the borough in 1413 (May), 1417 and 1419 he attended the elections of the knights of the shire at Dorchester.4
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. J. Hutchins, Dorset, i. 419-20, 615-16.
- 2. Dorset Nat. Hist. and Arch. Soc. lxv. 104; PCC 10 Marche; Dorset Feet of Fines, ii. 241-2; Feudal Aids, vi. 535.
- 3. Dorset Feet of Fines, ii. 290; G. Scott Thomson, Two Cents. Fam. Hist. 332.
- 4. JUST 1/1518 m. 21, 1519 mm. 31, 113, 114d; Dorchester Recs. ed. Mayo, 186; Dorset Feet of Fines, ii. 271; C219/10/4, 11/2, 3, 5; 12/2, 3.